All eight youths caught on security camera kicking and hitting a man in Eindhoven have now been arrested, Belgian police said on Thursday.
The last five youths are aged 17 to 19 and live in and around the Belgian border town of Turnhout. Four are Belgian nationals, three are thought to be Dutch and one’s nationality has not been made public.
Two of the youths reported to police on Monday, the day after the security camera footage featuring the attack was broadcast on the regional Dutch broadcaster. The third youngster turned himself in the next day.
The apparently unprovoked attack took place on January 4. The 22-year-old victim was hit and kicked by several of the eight-strong group after they marched down the street on ‘a war footing’. He suffered severe concussion and injuries to his mouth and jaw.
The arrests and the circulation of the video have led to a heated debate in the Dutch media about the ‘naming and shaming’ of suspects.
In the Netherlands, it is accepted practice not to publish identifiable photographs of suspects and they are usually known by the first name and an initial.
Nos television published this photograph,which features some of the gang
And while the names and photographs of the eight suspects are circulating freely on the internet, the Dutch public prosecution department has called on the media not to ‘disturb the legal case’.
Shock blog GeenStijl carried a photograph of most of the gang, without blurring their faces – as is customary in the Dutch media – and appealed directly for names. Two of the youths in the picture (above) are not wanted in connection with the attack.
The circulation of the photograph led to the naming of all the youths involved.
However, one boy, Tom Kantelberg, who has the same name as one of the youths in the video, told Nos television: ‘I’ve been threatened all day. I don’t even look like the boy in the photo. And if I try to contact GeenStijl, I don’t get an answer.’
Doing the job
The Volkskrant interviewed media specialist Marianne Zwagerman who said both GeenStijl and its television equivalent deserved 10 points for ‘doing what they should do – tracking down the perpetrators’.
‘GeenStijl put down everything that came in via Twitter and came up with the answers, in their own manner,’ she said.
Yes, someone with the same name as one of the suspects has been threatened, she said. ‘But let us not exaggerate. He was phoned a couple of times, which is naturally very annoying,’ she wrote.
‘But it makes me very angry that big organisations like the Nos, with a workforce of 400, point the finger at GeenStijl which has five journalists,’ she wrote. ‘Go and find out who the boys are yourself,’ she wrote.
According to an online opinion poll for Radio 1 website Stand.nl, 84% of the Dutch support the publication of the photographs.